A 10-year old boy has obtained a patent for a device he invented to dispense live feeder-guppies to predatory fish in an aquarium.
According to a report from the Union Leader, Evan Loginov was issued with patent number 7,059,270 from the US Patent and Trademark Office for a gadget he devised for his school's invention fair.
The "in-tank feeder-fish dispenser" holds live feeder-fish in a small chamber and periodically dispenses them so other fish can chase them around and eat them.
Loginov told the Union Leader that he developed the feeder-fish dispenser because his dad was getting tired of going out every day to buy live guppies to feed his blood parrot cichlid.
When it's feeding time, the aquarium owner can release a small door which pushes the fish out of a funnel-like opening, this allows the small fish out but prevents the larger fish from getting in to eat the other feeder fish. The patent abstract states: "This invention provides an in-tank dispenser for feeder fish and other aquatic live food that provides a separate enclosure residing within the larger main tank in a manner that allows the main tank's conditioned and heated water to flow through the enclosure.
Feeder fish reside within the enclosure, allowing them the benefit of the main tank's filtered and conditioned water while separating them from the larger fish of the main tank until feeding time. At feeding time, a manually or automatically operated door is opened, allowing the feeder fish to access a funnel shaped outlet that is large enough for the feeder fish to pass therethrough, but small enough to restrict return of the feeder fish once they exit or to allow larger fish to enter the enclosure.
The door can be perforated, and can be flapped opened and closed to help urge feeder fish into the area of the funnel. The enclosure can, likewise, be perforated to allow passage of water therethrough. In one embodiment, the door is actuated by a pivoting lever arm that extends upwardly above the rim of the main tank.
The lever arm can include a holding or locking mechanism that retains the door in an opened or closed position as needed. Alternatively, the door can be actuated by a motorized actuator that is connected to a power source and a switch and/or timer."
Loginov says that without the device, fishkeepers who wish to feed their fish live guppies need to set up an additional aquarium, which is more expensive.
Evan Loginov's father, who is an intellectual property attourney told the Union Leader that a motorised device could also be produced to dispense live feeder fish while the fishkeeper is on holiday.
The use of feeder-fish is relatively common in the US, but virtually unheard of in the UK where the practise is condemned by most fishkeeping groups.
Practical Fishkeeping always advises against the use of feeder fish. The majority of fish species receive no health benefits from consuming live fish, and the use of feeder fish has been implicated as a cause of disease transfer.